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As on the nosegay in her breast reclin’d,
He watch'd th' ideas rising in her mind,
Sudden he viewd, in spite of all her art,
An earthly Lover lurking at her heart.
Amaz’d, confus’d, he found his pow'r expir’d,
Resign'd to fate, and with a sigh retir'd.
The Peer now spreads the glittring forfex wide,
T'inclose the Lock; now joins it to divide.
Ev'n then, before the fatal engine clos’d,
A wretched Sylph too fondly interpos'd
Fate urg'd the sheers, and cut the Sylph in twain
(But airy substance foon unites again)
The meeting points the facred hair dislever
From the fair head, for ever, and for ever!
Then flash'd the living lightning from her eyes,
And screams of horror rend th’assrighted skies.
Not louder shrieks to pitying heav'n are cast
When husbands, or when lap-dogs breathe their last;
Or when rich China vessels fall’n from high,
In glittring dust and painted fragments lie!
Let wreaths of triumph now my temples twine,
(The victor cry'd) the glorious prize is mine!
While fish in freams, or birds delight in air,
Or in a coach and fix the British fail ,
As long as Atalantis shall be read,
Or the small pillow grace a Lady's bed,
While visits shall be paid on solemn days,
When num’rous wax-lights in bright order blaze ,
While nymphs take treats, or assignations give,
So long my honour, name, and praise shall live!
What time would spare, from steel receives its date,
And monuments , like men, submit to fate!
Steel could the labour of the Gods destroy,
And strike to dust th’imperial towr's of Troy;
Steel could the works of mortal pride confound,
And hew triumphal arches to the ground.
What wonder then, fair Nymph! thy hairs should feel
The conqu’ring force of unrelisted steel ?
But anxious cares the pensive nymph oppress’d,
And secret pallions labour'd in her breast.
Not youthful kings in battle seiz'd alive,
Not scornful virgins who their charms survive,
Not ardent lovers robb’d of all their bliss,
Not ancient ladies when resus'd a kiss,
Not tyrants fierce that unrepenting die,
Not Cynthia when her mantua's pinn'd awry,
E’er felt such rage, resentment, and despair,
As thou fad Virgin! for thy ravish'd Hair.
For, that fad moment, when the Sylphs withdrew, And Ariel weeping from Belinda slew,
Umbriel, a dusky, melancholy sprite,
As ever fully'd the fair face of light,
Down to the central earth, his proper scene,
Repair’d, to search the gloomy cave of Spleen.
Swist on his footy pinions slits the Gnome,
And in a vapour reach'd the dismal dome.
No cheering breeze this sullen region knows;
The dreaded East is all the wind that blows.
Here, in a grotto, shelter'd close from air,
And screen’d in shades from day's detested glare,
She fighs for ever on her pensive bed,
Pain at her side, and Megrim at her head.
Two handmaids wait the throne: alike in place,
But disf'ring far in figure and in face.
Here stood ill-nature, like an ancient maid,
Her wrinkled form in black and white array’d;
With store of pray’rs , for mornings , nights, and noons,
Her hand is fill'd, her bosom with lampoons.
There affectation, with a fickly mien, . Shows in her cheek the roses of eighteen; Practis’d to lisp, and hang the head aside, Faints into airs, and languishes with pride; On the rich quilt finks with becoming woe, Wrapt in a gown, for sickness, and for show.
The fair ones feel such maladies as these, · When each new night-dress gives a new disease.
A constant vapour o'er the palace Nies;
Strange phantoms rising as the mists arise ;
Dreadful as hermits dreams in haunted shades ;
Or bright, as visions of expiring maids.
Now glaring fiends, and snakes on rolling fpires,
Pale spectres, gaping tombs, and purple fires :
Now lakes of liquid gold, Elysian scenes,
And crystal domes, and angels in machines.
Unnumber'd throngs on ev'ry side are seen,
Of bodies chang’d to various forms by Spleen.
Here living tea-pots stand, one arm held out,
One bent; the handle this, and that the spout :
A pipkin there, like Homer's tripod walks ;
Here fighs a jar, and there a goose-pye talks ;
Men prove with child, as pow’rful fancy works,
And maids turn'd bottles, call aloud for corks.
Safe past the Gnome thro' this fantastic band, A branch of healing spleenwort in his hand : Then thus addresl’d the Pow'r-Hail wayward Queen! Who rule the sex from fifty to fifteen: Parent of vapours, and of female wit, Who give th’hysteric, or poetic fit; On various tempers act, in various ways, Make some take physic, others scribble plays; Who cause the proud their visits to delay, And send the godly in a pet to pray.
A Nymph there is that all thy pow'r disdains,
And thousands more in equal mirth maintains.
But oh! if e'er thy Gnome could spoil a grace ,
Or raise a pimple on a beauteous face,
Like citron-waters, matrons cheeks inslame,
Or change complexions at a losing game;
If e’er with airy horns I planted heads,
Or rumpled petticoats, or tumbled beds,
Or caus’d suspicion when no soul was rude,
Or discompor'd the head-dress of a prude,
Or e’er to costive lap-dog gave disease,
Which not the tears of brightest eyes could ease,
Hear me, and touch Belinda with chagrin;
That single act gives half the world the spleen.
The Goddess with a discontented air,
Seems to reject him, tho' she grants his pray’r.
A wondrous bag with both her hands she binds,
Like that where once Ulysses held the winds;
There she collects the force of female lungs,
Sighs, fobs, and passions, and the war of tongues.
A phial next she fills with fainting fears,
Sost sorrows, melting griess, and slowing tears,
The Gnome rejoicing, bears her gifts away,
Spreads his black wings, and slowly mounts to day,
Sunk in Thalefris’arms the Nymph he found, Iler eyes dejected, and her hair unbound.